IN RECOGNITION OF the critical importance of physical, mental and emotional well-being to academic success among students, Brown University is advancing plans toward a new integrated health and wellness center and residence hall to be built on its College Hill campus.
The new center will bring together in the same space high-demand services and programs, currently scattered across the campus, that are instrumental to students’ physical and emotional well-being. The building, expected to open its doors in Summer 2021, will include Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Brown Emergency Medical Services, BWell, the University’s health promotion program, as well as a residence hall with 162 beds for students who share a deep commitment to sustaining healthy lifestyles and promoting health at Brown and beyond.
“Physical and emotional health and well-being are inextricably tied to each and every student’s ability to take full advantage of the academic opportunities at Brown”
President Christina Paxson said the creation of a 21st-century health and wellness center that integrates essential services and complements them with a wellness-focused residence hall demonstrates the University’s innovative approach to promoting community wellness.
“Physical and emotional health and well-being are inextricably tied to each and every student’s ability to take full advantage of the academic opportunities at Brown,” Paxson said. “In that way, health and wellness is fundamentally essential to Brown’s mission, and a dedicated, state-of-the-art center reaffirms that importance.”
Paxson said that generous financial support from University benefactors— a gift from the family of the late Duncan MacMillan, and a gift from Barry Sternlicht and Mimi Reichert Sternlicht—is enabling Brown to advance the project from a vision into an active project.
Creating a new center will build on increasing momentum at Brown toward holistic, integrative health practices, said Dr. Vanessa Britto, the University’s assistant vice president for campus life and executive director of health and wellness. It will also enable more effective coordination between physical and mental health services.
“Physical well-being is deeply interconnected with mental and emotional well-being,” Britto said. “Co-locating Health Services and CAPS in a modern and welcoming building will not only build our capacity to fully support students, but also provide a more seamless clinical experience.”
Britto said the new center will include expanded space for clinical and health promotion activities— medical exam rooms, nursing stations, counseling and peer education offices— as well as opportunities to explore partnerships with faculty and community health providers. Discussions about the center have also considered health and wellness-focused amenities such as a test kitchen, a garden and spaces for activities such as meditation and yoga.
“There are so many opportunities here for us to learn together and support students in very tangible ways,” Britto said. “Within this modern facility, we will be able to continue to deliver high-quality services to our students while exploring our academic and community connections in really innovative ways.”
Eric Estes, Brown’s vice president for campus life, said that as envisioned, the building’s residence hall will house students who show a dedicated interest in health and wellness. The unique residential option will open new possibilities for peer education, outreach and community- building around health and wellness, as well as intriguing potential for collaboration among students, staff and faculty, he said.
“By bringing students together in a residential community, a leadership space will be created that will benefit the entire campus,” Estes said. “I envision that new ideas and a wide range of work on health and wellness-focused initiatives will emanate from a dedicated center and residence hall.”
The health and wellness center and residence hall will be located at 450 Brook Street, directly adjacent to Pembroke Field and a short walk to Brown’s Erickson Athletic Complex and Nelson Fitness Center. University Architect Collette Creppell said the anticipated site complements the center’s mission and will help create important physical connections on campus and to the Providence community.